“How do you know that?!” My Aunt M. from Florida asks me. We’d been looking at old photos when I mentioned that my Great-Grandfather had enjoyed photography as a hobby. I’d grown up visiting him. I am a sponge with information. How do I know anything?
I was both amused and perplexed when she told my Grandmother that she wanted to know about a past relative who committed suicide in a ravine. “Why would she do such a thing?”
“Why does anyone?” I asked in reply. I don’t know that much about my Aunt’s life in Florida. I cannot believe she was born free of depression, but maybe she was lucky. Maybe the sun and surf and her wonderful husband and job and children kept the affliction away from her and she really cannot understand how sad and hopeless a person can feel. I don’t think I’d be the same person I am now had I not known the blackness.
I have no idea why it occurs. I was spiraling back into the abyss just a few days ago. I’m grateful that I was able to recognize the pattern of thought atop thought that feeds the next into the horrible despair that is so bloody awful. I was able to close my eyes and say, ‘new thought.’
It’s so stupid, too. I just had acceptances for my writing. I was going to visit relatives. I had plans for grilling out with friends. In any normal person’s eyes, I never should have tripped into that hole. But I did…
I have no idea what I know that my Aunts don’t, or why some things are glossed over. I know that if I want to confirm something about the distant past, I have to forcefully pull the truth from my Grandmother’s tongue by asking the most direct questions possible because, according to her, we never talk about those things.
So, I don’t know… How do I know?
Better yet, what do I know?